Chico’s Leverages Analytics to Enhance Customer Engagement

Actionable analytics can certainly impact a loyalty marketer’s success.

For Chico’s FAS−which comprises the following brands: Chico’s, White House | Black Market, Soma Intimates, and Boston Proper−that facet of its strategic initiatives have enhanced customer engagement.

“We have enhanced our locate tool, where we ship merchandise from an in-store order directly to the customer either from our distribution center or from another store,” Chico’s FAS CEO Shelley Broader said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call this week. “Specifically, we have added actionable analytics that provides enhanced order and fulfillment visibility to our sales associates. As a result of these improvements, we have seen an increase of greater than 10 percent in our locate store orders as compared to last year’s third quarter. This tool creates a seamless customer experience and drives cost savings as well as improved inventory turns. We look forward to continuing to leverage this tool and improve the ease of use to quickly and efficiently satisfy the needs of our customers.”

Chico’s FAS is a specialty retailer of private branded, sophisticated, casual-to-dressy clothing, intimates, complementary accessories, and other non-clothing gift items.

Broader assessed the company’s turnaround plan as she nears her two-year anniversary as CEO at Chico’s FAS.

“Specifically, we analyzed and diagnosed the problems across the company, we developed a corrective action plan around organizational structure, operating efficiencies, and product lifecycle, and we are close to completing the implementation of that plan,” Broader explained. “And now we have identified opportunities for topline growth. In this last phase of our plan, we are focused on building a sustainable revenue stream as we go after those opportunities that are most impactful to the business. A quick word on our team’s response to those hurricanes before I get to the business result. We are continuing to see the benefit of our margin and cost initiatives which contributed to a solid bottom line performance. We are making important improvements across our brands, proactively addressing our customers’ needs, and we believe that our actions will deliver stronger topline performance as well.”

Comparable sales for the third quarter fell 8.2 percent.

“We are making solid progress in expanding our special sizes to drive new customer acquisition and sale,” Broader added. “Our plus size assortment for Chico’s and White House Black Market came online in mid-October. Our customers are buzzing and we are delighted to see the early positive reads.”

Sales trends in Chico’s e-commerce business followed a similar pattern to stores in the third quarter, with traction in August giving way to a significant decline in traffic and sales in September.

“In addition to the hurricanes, we believe September e-commerce was impacted by a change in marketing strategy as we attempted to optimize ROI and reduce email opt-out,” Broader said. “We course-corrected in September returning to a more normalized practice and saw a healthy rebound in sales in October.”

What’s more, the company significantly improved access to its gift cards online.

“And for the first time, all stores will carry gift cards for each of our brands,” Broader said. “We have placed our gift cards in over 10,000 drug and grocery stores across the country, including brand leaders Walgreens and CVS. In terms of marketing, we are moving to increase digital across our brands and enhancing our targeted approach going forward. With the health of our data analytics team and over 20 years of customer specific data, we are learning more than ever about what is important to our customers and we are taking action.”

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